Thursday, September 27, 2012

Big news! Turns out it is okay if you don’t go to college.

Didja hear it?  If you were able to catch any of NBC’s Education Nation conversation, It was ever so subtle, but it was there. The part of the conversation that disturbingly has been the banned from the Common Core College and Career Readiness mantra.

If you heard it you noticed that the language is changing, slowly but surely, from the lips of the politicians, corporate funders, and even from the administrators who feel they must not deviate from the party line (even when they know it's wrong) lest they lose their jobs.

So, what's the big idea that is ever so softly slipping through the lips of those engaged in the politically correct education conversation?

The new and improved stats and facts have arrived, and....

College AND career readiness is OUTTA HERE!

In its place is an important conjunction that many of us were shut down and smacked down if we dared to utter those two ugly letters.

So what are the two little letters that could change everything?


OR

Yes, though it had been banned from the vocabulary of the Common Core proselytisers,  “OR” is now an acceptable word.

But, of course, there’s a condition.

It must be followed by post-secondary certification.  The whole phrase looks like this:

“College OR post-secondary certification and career readiness” and it's a step in the right direction.

Oh...all the documents where that popular CCR (college career readiness) acronym will need to be found and replaced with CPSCCR.  

But actually, we could fix that, because many of us know what would make it even better would be to simply remove the words "post-secondary" as many young people are capable of getting a certification during their teen years.

So perhaps the new language will be:

College or certification and career readiness.  

Or to make it a really nice acronym we could call it

College or certification and career competency.   

Then the acronym could just be  C4 or C4

What's more the pundits are acknowledging their fatally flawed claims about the success the earning power of those w/college degrees verses those w/out.  They can no longer deny the facts. When you account for socioeconomic status and student loan debt  the stats about earning potential of college grads frankly, puts a lot of money in the pockets of our government and our colleges, but it's a load of crap.

So, what will this mean?
  • It will mean that educators are allowed to publicly acknowledge that, "One size does not fit all!".
  • It will mean that we can consider and honor the passions of ALL students.
  • It will mean that we no longer have to send the message to those in our society who did not take the college path that you are less worthy than those who did.
  • It will mean that we can value the contributions of all and help them think about and seek out which of many options will help them achieve their path.

And, of course, let's not be naïve. There was also probably some big trade school association that funded studies and hired lobbyists to march on Capitol Hill rallying for their piece of the pie. These decisions most always follow the money. So get ready to see a lot more certification programs vying for their piece of the post-secondary education pie.  

But, still, that means more choices and that will mean better options for students and when all is said and done, that is what matters most.  

Next step of course is to realize the value of the on-the-job training and apprenticeship opportunities that made my close family members and friends (Director, Accountant, Computer Programmer, Sound Engineer) six-figure income earners without degrees or post-secondary certification programs. And, BONUS! No college debt or years of lost earnings while pursuing a degree.

Too often, our leaders view life through the narrow lens of when they were in a four-year college. A broader view is required to lead on this complex issue today.  The goal must not be for a one-size-fits-all path to success, but rather on providing a menu of options that may or may not include college or certification.
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